SPAIN was the sick man of America at the end of the seven-teenth century. Critics have sometimes been tempted to ascribe the decrepitude of the Spanish Empire to some moral or social blemish of the Spaniards themselves, or the revenge of God and Nature for the wholesale destruction of the aboriginal Indians. This is to do less than justice to the Spaniards both of Europe and America. The greatest fault ofSpanish imperialism was attempting too much. Its claims vastly exceeded its performance. Her enemies never gave Spain a fair chance to show how she could have settled and organized the whole continent of America; but had they left her alone, she was too constantly preoccupied with European wars to give herself a fair chance.